Another one of the top remaining free agents is off the board, as the Carolina Hurricanes have swooped in and signed Ryan Dzingel. The former Columbus Blue Jackets forward will get just a two-year deal worth a total of $6.75MM. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell released a statement:
Ryan has proven that he can be an impact player offensively, putting up bigger numbers over each of his three full-time NHL seasons. His speed, skill and vision make him an excellent fit for our forward group and our style of play. At 27, he’s just entering his prime and certainly had options coming off a 26-goal season, so we’re happy he’s chosen to be a part of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Dzingel was the highest ranked forward left on our Top 50 UFA list, coming in at number 12. Like many others, we expected him to a get a much longer deal on the open market but it appears as though a poor playoff performance may have reduced his market considerably. Dzingel never fit in well with the Blue Jackets after a trade from the Ottawa Senators, and ended up watching from the press box for one of their playoff games.
Despite the lack of fit in Columbus, Dzingel still produced his best offensive season in 2018-19 by racking up 26 goals and 56 points. His second straight 20+ goal season in the books, it looked like he would still find a team desperate for offense that could offer him a long-term deal. Instead, he’ll go to Carolina for just two seasons at a more than reasonable $3.375MM cap hit and could be one of the biggest bargains of the offseason. Even after watching Micheal Ferland head west, the Hurricanes have now given their secondary scoring a boost with the additions of Dzingel and Erik Haula and could be a more dangerous team next season.
The 27-year old Dzingel has always been able to put the puck in the net. Though he was just a seventh-round pick in 2011, he quickly became a star at Ohio State University where he scored 22 goals and 46 points in his 37-game junior season. Upon joining the professional ranks with the Senators’ AHL team he continued to score, putting up 31 goals in 119 games before jumping to the NHL. Of Dzingel’s 66 career NHL goals just ten of them have come on the powerplay, meaning he should give the team a more balanced attack at even-strength and allow head coach Rod Brind’Amour to mix and match the lines however he chooses. Though he has played center in the past, Dzingel is exclusively a winger at the NHL level.